Improving the Medical Inpatient Journey with Criteria Led Discharge


To reduce delays when a patient is medically ready to return home from hospital.


A formalised criteria-led discharge process has the potential to:

  • Improve patient experience: patients are able to get home sooner; 
  • Enhance patient safety: criteria led transfers of care through a checklist; 
  • Reduce unnecessary length of stay: not being in hospital when patients can actually return home; 
  • Reduce bed days: elimination of unnecessary days in hospital; 
  • Minimise waste: reduction of costs as a result of eliminating unnecessary lengths of stay in hospital; 
  • Improve staff satisfaction: staff are not pressured to transfer patients at the “last minute”, or experience bed-block on Monday due to transfers not occurring over the weekend.


The Acute Care Taskforce is currently focused on improving the medical inpatient journey.

This project involves five main elements with leads across the system:

  • Clinical Management Plan as led by ACI
  • Interdisciplinary Ward Rounds as led by the CEC’s In Safe Hands – Structured Interdisciplinary Ward Rounds
  • A meaningful estimated date of discharge that is entered on admission, revised throughout the patient journey, and includes what next steps a patient is waiting for. Led by the NSW  Ministry of Health and the Health and Education Training Institute
  • A structured process for identifying patients eligible for criteria led discharge as led by ACI
  • Planned transfer of care, in partnership with the patient, their families and/or carers, as led by CEC .



  • HETI
  • ACI
  • CEC
  • NSW  Ministry of Health – Patient Flow Portal Team
  • NSW  Ministry of Health – Whole of Hospital Team
  • Ambulance Service NSW

Key Dates

Pilot Sites

Implementation Sites

Testing is now completed at sites in Hunter New England, Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW Local Health Districts. Implementation has commenced at:

Hunter New England Local Health DistrictCalvary Mater Newcastle
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health DistrictWollongong Hospital
Southern NSW Local Health DistrictBega District Hospital
Western NSW Local Health DistrictOrange Health Service


Baseline patient and staff experience is collected at each implementation site and will be revisited at 3, 6 and 12 month intervals, as required. A full implementation plan will be published in June 2014. 

Further Details

Considerations of the Acute Care Taskforce in developing the approach can be found here:


Kate Lloyd
Manager, Acute Care
02 9464 4623

Daniel Comerford
Director, Acute Care
02 9464 4602

Page Top | Added: 8 November 2013 | Last modified: 30 May 2014

Kate Lloyd
Manager, Acute Care
02 9464 4623